On Nov. 26, 2019, Rexburg police learned two children were missing. Their mother and her new husband vanished the next day. As police, reporters and internet sleuths began digging into the case, every detail seemed to unearth a new rabbit hole.
The story has captivated the nation's attention and has dominated the local news cycle, with nearly every story revealing curious new details and a series of unfortunate events that are hard to classify as mere coincidences. Death threats, drive-by shootings, visions of the end times, two dead spouses and reincarnated gods: welcome to the world of Lori Vallow and Chad Daybell.
The Post Register put together a timeline detailing every confirmed detail of the case known as of Jan. 7.
Lori Vallow: age 46, wife of Chad
Chad Daybell: age 51, husband of Lori
Tylee Ryan: age 17, daughter of Lori; remains missing
Joshua Jaxon "J.J." Vallow: age 7, son of Lori and Charles, diagnosed with autism; remains missing
Alex Cox: Brother of Lori
William Lagioia: Second husband of Lori, father of Colby
Joseph Ryan: Third husband of Lori, father of Tylee
Charles Vallow: Fourth husband of Lori, father of J.J.
Melani Boudreaux: Lori’s niece whose ex-husband said she radically changed after beginning to follow Lori's religious beliefs
Brandon Boudreaux: Melani’s ex-husband
Ian Pawlowski: Melani's current husband
Tammy Daybell: Age 49, Chad’s first wife
Timeline of events:
March 9, 1990: Chad Daybell and Tamara “Tammy” Douglas marry in Manti, Utah.
1992: Lori Cox marries her high school boyfriend shortly after graduating high school. Little is known about her first husband. His name, the date of their marriage and the date of their divorce remain unknown. The year of their marriage and confirmation of its existence were provided by Annie Cushing, sister to Lori's third husband.
Oct. 22, 1995: Lori marries second husband, William Lagioia, in Travis County, Texas.
1996 (date unknown): The couple has a son, Colby.
Dec. 17, 1996: Lori’s second husband files for divorce.
Feb. 25, 1998: Lori’s second divorce is finalized.
2001: Lori marries third husband, Joseph Anthony Ryan Jr. They have daughter Tylee together. The exact date of marriage is unknown, but Joseph’s sister, Annie Cushing, confirmed the year. Joseph adopts Colby, Lori's son from her previous marriage.
August 13, 2004: Lori's third husband files for divorce.
May 18, 2005: Lori's third divorce is finalized.
February 24, 2006: Lori and Leland “Charles” Anthony Vallow marry in Las Vegas, making him her fourth husband.
July 2014: Charles and Lori finalize the adoption of Charles’ grandnephew, Joshua Jaxon “J.J.” Vallow, according to J.J.’s grandmother, Kay Vallow Woodcock.
End of 2014: Charles and Lori move to the Hawaiian island of Kauai with J.J. and Tylee, according to business records filed by the couple.
2015 (approximate): Friend of Lori tells New York's Fox 5 that, around this time, Lori begins becoming “obsessed with Chad’s books,” especially a fictional series called “Standing in Holy Places." “Those books she got really obsessed with and started buying me those books too. She must have gotten close to him from his book.”
June 2015: The Daybells purchase a house in Salem after Chad twice hears a voice tell him he is supposed to move to Rexburg, according to Chad’s blog. The Daybells eventually make the move from Springville, Utah, to Salem.
Late 2016/early 2017: The Vallows move from Hawaii to Arizona, according to family members.
April 3, 2018: Lori’s ex-husband, Joseph Ryan, dies. Death is ruled due to a heart attack. Joseph's body is cremated.
Dec. 5, 2018: Chad and Lori are both on the same episode of Preparing a People podcast, “Time to Warrior Up." More episodes of the two of them together soon follow.
February/March 2019: Lori vanishes for 58 days, leaving both her husband and kids. Charles "had no idea where she went," one of his sons told Phoenix's Fox 10.
Feb. 8, 2019: Charles files for divorce from Lori. In released documents, Charles cites Lori threatening to murder him, stealing $35,000 from his business account and claiming to be a reincarnated god among his reasons for wanting a divorce.
March 6, 2019: Divorce proceedings are dismissed at Charles’ request. Charles decided he wanted to try to make the marriage work, Charles's son said in the interview with Fox 10 in Phoenix.
June 2019: Melani Boudreaux, Lori's niece, unexpectedly demands a divorce from Brandon Boudreaux, her husband of 11 years, said Brandon in a Facebook post. Brandon says he believes it was due to Melani's new religious beliefs after following her aunt and Chad into what he calls a “cult.”
July 11, 2019: Charles arrives at Lori's Chandler, Arizona, home to pick up J.J. Home at the time were Lori, Tylee, J.J., and Lori's brother Alex Cox. An altercation occurs and Alex shoots Charles twice in the chest, killing him. Cox claims self-defense and no charges are filed. According to Charles and Lori's property manager, Joe Pongratz, neighbors reported a pool party at Lori's house later that day with "loud music and lots of people swimming."
July/August (approximate): J.J.'s beloved service dog Bailey is returned to the kennel from which the dog was purchased, according to grandmother Kay Vallow Woodcock.
Aug. 10, 2019: J.J.’s grandmother, Kay Vallow Woodcock, spoke with J.J. via FaceTime for about 35 seconds, she told KSL TV. This is the last time she had contact with him.
September 2019: Lori, Tylee and J.J. move to Rexburg. The reason for the move remains unclear. A neighbor told Fox 13 Salt Lake City that Lori told him she moved to attend school. A friend of Tylee's told the Post Register that Tylee said they were moving because Lori had gotten a job there. Lori's Chandler, Arizona, landlord Joe Pongratz wrote on Facebook that, following Charles' shooting, he had asked Lori to move her family out of the Chandler home, which they did Aug. 31, possibly jump-starting the Idaho move. Tylee originally planned to stay in Arizona and move in with her friend, but decided she didn’t want to leave J.J. “She was just protective of J.J. cause he was her little brother,” the friend said.
Sept. 23, 2019: J.J. is seen at Kennedy Elementary School in Rexburg for the last time, say police. The last confirmed sighting of Tylee is unknown, but, according to police, it was around this time as well.
Chad texts filmmaker Devin K. Hansen “Thanks so much” regarding a project to turn one of his books into a film, Hansen told Fox 13 Salt Lake City. This is the last time Hansen would hear from Chad; all subsequent texts from Hansen to Chad go unanswered. Up until this point, Chad seemed invested in the project and had traveled to Utah to meet with Hansen about it. The project has since been canceled.
Oct. 2, 2019: A drive-by shooting attempt is made on Brandon Boudreaux in Gilbert, Arizona, Boudreaux told The Arizona Republic. Boudreaux did not see the driver. The drive-by vehicle was a Jeep registered to the deceased Charles Vallow, police confirmed.
Oct. 9, 2019. A man wearing a ski mask appears in the Daybells' driveway in Salem as Tammy is unloading groceries from her car. He points what she believes to be a paintball gun at her and pulls the trigger several times, but the weapon doesn't appear to be loaded, according to a Facebook post made by Tammy. Tammy tries several times to ask the man what he was doing, but he never spoke. Tammy yells for Chad and the man ran away. Tammy reports the incident to the Fremont County Sheriff's Office, whose investigators believed it was likely a prank and never found the man, Fremont County Sheriff Len Humphries told the Rexburg Standard Journal.
Oct. 10, 2019: Tylee’s Venmo account shows a payment to her brother, Colby Ryan, accompanied by the message “we love you.”
Oct. 16, 2019: Tylee's Venmo account shows a payment to Colby accompanied by a heart emoji.
Around this date, Melani tells Brandon she is moving to Boise, according to The Arizona Republic.
Oct. 19, 2019: Family members find Tammy dead in her home at age of 49, according to a Rexburg Police Department news release. The death is ruled due to natural causes. Tammy had seemed healthy when her father Ron Douglas, saw her two weeks earlier, Douglas told Fox 13 Salt Lake City. Douglas said a grief-stricken Chad called him after Tammy died, saying she had gone to bed the night before with a terrible cough and never woke up.
Oct. 22, 2019: Tammy is interred, according to a Rexburg police news release.
Oct. 25, 2019: A friend of Tylee’s from Arizona, receives text from Tylee saying, “hi. Miss you guys too...luv ya.” This text was in response to a text the friend sent Oct. 19 saying she missed Tylee and had been thinking about her. The friend confirmed this text exchange and provided a screenshot to the Post Register, but she has doubts Tylee was the one who wrote the response. “She spelled out her words for the most part. Plus she would have texted more if I reached out,” the friend said via Facebook Messenger when asked if the text sounded like it had come from Tylee.
November 2019 (approximate): Lori and Chad told witnesses that Tylee died in 2017, police say. Chad told another witness that Lori had no minor children.
Nov. 2, 2019 (approximate): Chad and Lori are now married. This date is based on Rexburg Police Department news release stating “... within a couple weeks of (Tammy) Daybell’s death, her surviving husband had married Rexburg resident Lori Vallow …” The wedding is reported to have taken place in Hawaii. Some family members have stated online that they believe the wedding took place closer to Nov. 15.
Nov. 14, 2019: Prior to the finalization of her divorce, police arrest Melani for trespassing on Brandon’s parents’ property in American Fork, Utah, according to court records. She is charged with criminal trespass and released the same day.
Late Nov. 2019: Melani and Brandon's divorce was reportedly finalized around this time. Temporary custody of the couple's four children was granted to Brandon., according to The Arizona Republic.
Nov. 26, 2019: Police go to Lori and Chad's residence at 565 Pioneer Road in Rexburg to conduct a welfare check on J.J. at the request of his grandmother, Kay Vallow Woodcock. Lori tells police the children are in Arizona with relatives. Police contact the relatives, who say they have not seen the children.
Nov. 27, 2019: Police return to the home of Lori and Chad with a search warrant only to find the couple had "abruptly vacated their residence.” Witnesses say Tylee and J.J. were not with them.
Nov. 29, 2019: Alex Cox, Lori's brother, and Zulema Pastenes are married in Las Vegas.
Nov. 30, 2019: Melani Boudreaux and Ian Pawlowski are married in Las Vegas, according to court records. Pawlowski, a resident of Rexburg, divorced his previous wife in July 2019, according to his Facebook.
Dec. 11, 2019: Law enforcement decide to further investigate the death of Tammy. Tammy’s body is exhumed and submitted for an autopsy.
Dec. 12, 2019: Alex dies in Gilbert, Arizona, The Arizona Republic reported. Investigation into his death is being handled by the Gilbert Police Department, but no further information has been released.
Dec. 20, 2019: Rexburg police announce the disappearance of Tylee and J.J. and ask the public's for assistance in locating them. In a news release, police say Chad and Lori are not cooperating and the children's disappearance may be tied to Tammy's "suspicious death."
Dec. 21, 2019: Police officially announce Chad and Lori as persons of interest. “They told us several stories about where the children are, but when we investigate, the children don’t exist where they say they should,” Rexburg Police Chief Shane Turman told EastIdahoNews.com.
Dec. 23, 2019: Rexburg attorney Sean Bartholick issues statement on Chad and Lori's behalf saying, “Chad Daybell was a loving husband and has the support of his children in this matter. Lori Daybell is a devoted mother and resents assertions to the contrary. We look forward to addressing the allegations once they have moved beyond speculation and rumor.”
Dec. 26, 2019: Preparing A People issues a statement denying it is a cult. According to the statement, it is a multimedia company that focuses on video editing. Preparing a People representatives say they have not had Chad speak at an event since February 2019, they are cooperating with law enforcement and have removed podcast episodes featuring Chad and Lori.
Dec. 28, 2019: Rexburg Police Capt. Gary Hagen tells eastidahonews.com that he doesn’t think investigators are any closer to finding the children than they were two weeks ago. Hagen also dismisses rumors that children’s disappearance is related to a custody battle. “That’s what they claim, but we have proved that there is no active custody battle.”
Dec. 30, 2019: Rexburg Police issue another news release. In it, police say they “strongly believe that Joshua and Tylee’s lives are in danger.” Police say they know the children are not with Chad and Lori. Despite law enforcement believing she knows where they are or what has happened to them, Lori has “completely refused to assist this investigation” and “has chosen instead to leave the state with her new husband.”
Jan. 3, 2020: Law enforcement from the Fremont County Sheriff’s Office, the Rexburg Police Department and the FBI arrive at the Daybell property, former home of Chad and Tammy, with a search warrant. Officers search inside the house, as well as a shed and barn behind the house. Metal detectors were used in the yard. Police said more than 43 items were collected from the home, including “computers, cellphones, journals, documents and medications," which have been sent to forensic experts for examination.
Jan. 7, 2020: Larry and Kay Woodcock, J.J.'s grandparents, hold a press conference in Rexburg to announce a $20,000 reward for the childrens' return. "We want only the best for them," Larry Woodcock says. "Please give them back to us."